Sunrise from the window.
Pressing the French.
Up early the next morning with coffee, toast and sorting and stacking. I walked over to the Petrified Forest Inn, an old Fred Harvey historic structure at Kachina Point to see who was on duty and start finding my way around.
Road Runner at the Inn. Ravens, rabbits, deer, chipmunks in abundant evidence.
Guest and staff rooms, (no longer used), at the Fred Harvey Painted Desert Inn. I could tell I wanted a look at these rooms, but didn't want to start off "inside" until I had been outside for a while.
I'd been in the park last year when I drove down from Hubbell Trading Post AIR to meet the AIR co-ordinator and look around. The casita is located on the North unit of the park, a young volcanic cap on the older bentonite clay layers. Rains had made the bentonite areas impassable to foot traffic. Showers were still working their way through the area.
View off the Kachina Point trail from the second switchback.
The famous red bentonite of the Painted Desert.
Katie on the paved trail at Blue Mesa.
Blue Mesa trail. I'd heard such great things about Blue Mesa that I wanted to see it quickly.
Blue Mesa trail.
Windy, with occasional showers as we touristed around.
I'd spent a lot of time with maps and reading to familiarize myself prior to actually being in the park. Had the map memorized, even down to trail details, but no substitute for walking the terrain. Unfortunately, we couldn't step off the trail. Bentonite is serious muck.
We took a lunch break and checked in at park administration to pass out cards and see some faces, then back out for some afternoon wandering.
Lacey Point overlook.
I wanted a look at Pintura Peak in good light, but the wind was walking off with the 5X7 when the 450 was mounted. Blocked up the shot. Needed more than 450mm. The volcanic escarpment reminded me of Shiprock.
Katie in the desert at the Teepees.
Checking iphone proofs in the wind.
Wishing I had a 600, but it would have been useless in the wind.
Looking. Hoping to separate art from the scenery.
Afternoon light, balancing clouds blocking the sunlight with penetrating light on the East Horizon. I walked my camera out to Kachina Point at sundown to try and find a wind shadow to work out of.
Rain ran me off the point.
Showers walking around to the Northwest of the casita.
No film images from the first day, but plenty of walking and looking. Wonderful light and atmosphere. Rain expected for the next several days followed by clear and sunny. The park is about 28 miles by paved road from the North unit to the South entrance. We had only been over about 12 miles of the top end. An eventful first day.